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Emperor leads heads of state in condemning Hagia Sophia conversion

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Jonathan I has led a group of seven heads of state in condemning the recent decision by Turkish President Erdoğan to convert the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The statement, published yesterday, was also signed by Quentin I of the Holy Roman Empire and Wyvern, Aikaterini I of Imvrassia, Emmanuel I & II of Rhomania (formerly Mouzilo), Edward I of Ashukovo, Denis I of Vlasynia, and former Austenasian PM Lord Admiral Kennedy in his capacity as provisional head of state of New Virginia.

Hagia Sophia was built as a cathedral by the Emperor Justinian and completed in 537. It stood as the greatest cathedral in the world and the centre of the Orthodox Church for almost a thousand years, until the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in May 1453.

During the fall of the city, thousands of civilians and refugees took shelter in Hagia Sophia while a Liturgy was served. When the city fell, the Turks broke down the doors to the church and slaughtered, raped and enslaved those inside.

The Ottomans destroyed or plastered over the Christian elements of the church, and installed minarets and other features to convert the cathedral into a mosque.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the caliphate, Kemal Ataturk – the founder of modern Turkey – ordered Hagia Sophia to become a museum in a drive towards modernity and secularism. Archaeological and restorative work uncovered many of the Christian mosaics, and the building was open for all to appreciate its unique history.

Hagia Sophia was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

The decision of President Erdoğan to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque has been seen as a regressive move aimed at bolstering his support among Turkey’s Islamists, as well as intentionally insulting Turkey’s Orthodox neighbours in Europe.

Reports state that the building’s Christian mosaics will now be covered with screens and lighting effects, and that visitors will have to remove their shoes upon entry.

The action has immense significance for Orthodox Christians, for whom Hagia Sophia remains a building of intense spiritual importance. Many legends and prophecies concern the cathedral.

For example, one legend says that when the city fell to the Turks, the clergy paused the service they were conducting and vanished through a door on the south side of the church, where they await to complete the Liturgy. To this day the door has not been opened, and some say chanting can be heard from the other side.

Of more concern are prophecies by Orthodox saints of the past century which warn that the building becoming a mosque again will herald a war.

Regardless of any eschatological significance of this action, it remains one calculated to intentionally offend and belittle Turkey’s already victimised Christian minorities.

The statement published yesterday by Emperor Jonathan I and others is as follows:

It was with the utmost disgust and devastation that we learnt of the decision of the Turkish government to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. At a time when so many nations around the world are looking back at their history, critical of the colonialism and oppression of the past, the Republic of Turkey – a state built on the genocide and ethnic cleansing of its Greek, Armenian, Assyrian and Kurdish minorities – has chosen to continue to insult and attack the culture and history of the people whose land it took. This action, which is illegal under international law, has been denounced by UNESCO, by the EU, by the USA, and of course by Greece and by the Orthodox Church. Under the government of Erdogan, Turkey is becoming an Islamist rogue state and international pariah, and we condemn this action unreservedly. It is an intentional insult not only towards the Christian religion, but also towards all who descend from or value the Orthodox civilisation of the medieval Roman Empire. The whole civilised world has united in condemnation of this atrociously insulting act, but we may take consolation in the knowledge that despite Erdogan’s claims, Hagia Sophia does not belong to Turkey. Rather, it belongs to God, and may His will be done.

15 July 2020 (7528)

Emperor Jonathan I of the EMPIRE OF AUSTENASIA
Emperor Quentin I of the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE and KINGDOM OF WYVERN
Empress Aikaterini I of the EMPIRE OF IMVRASSIA
Basileus Emmanuel I & II of the BASILEIA OF THE ROMANS
Prince Edward I of the REPUBLIC OF ASHUKOVO
Sir Joseph Kennedy of the COMMONWEALTH OF NEW VIRGINIA
Despot Denis I of the DESPOTATE OF VLASYNIA

UPDATE 16 JULY 21:20 – Princess Hannah of Wildflower Meadows and King Ciprian of Juclandia have also expressed their explicit support for the statement.

New Town established at Chalcedon

A new Austenasian Town was yesterday founded as an enclave of Kadikoy, Turkey, the modern-day site of the ancient town of Chalcedon.

The new Town consists of a section of an apartment building and is home to six people. One of its residents, İsmetcan Saraç – who initiated the process of having the properties join Austenasia – has been granted the title Count of Bithynia and appointed Acting Representative of the new Town.

Said new Town has taken its name, Chalcedon, from the settlement which has occupied the site since prehistoric times and is most famous as having been the venue of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in 451.

Chalcedon was only renamed to Kadikoy in the sixteenth century, and is now a suburb of the Anatolian part of Constantinople (Istanbul).

The Austenasian Town’s resurrection of the prestigious Greco-Roman name of the location can be seen as a further emphasis of the Empire’s Roman and Christian heritage, although all six residents of Austenasian Chalcedon are Muslim.

Lord Saraç has become the fourth Representative to join the Fatherland Party, giving the Opposition an equal number of seats in Parliament as the governmental coalition.

Furthermore, this most recent expansion has increased Austenasia’s population to 97, the highest so far in its history.

Solar farm to be established on new Territory

20 September 2019 Leave a comment

An Act of Parliament passed yesterday evening has annexed a new Territory to Austenasia from Turkey, joining that of Laranda, which joined Austenasia in May.

New territory Seleucia ad Cilicia

The new Territory is situated near Silifke, a town which was known as Seleucia in antiquity. It has therefore been named Seleucia ad Cilicia in reference to its past.

Seleucia ad Cilicia consists of a plot of uninhabited land owned by Lord Dionisiy Tezdhzan-Smahin, who – as with Laranda earlier this year – claimed the land for Austenasia.

Lord Tezdzhan-Smahin, who was appointed Governor of the new territory by Parliament, has announced his intention to install solar panels in Seleucia ad Cilicia. These solar panels will produce renewable electricity which will be sold to the neighbouring country of Turkey, making Seleucia ad Cilicia one of the only areas of Austenasia to produce an export in this way.

Austenasia grows with huge Turkish annexation

The size of Austenasia’s territorial claims more than doubled yesterday after the annexation of the new Territory of Laranda.

A satellite image of Laranda.

Laranda consists of 165 acres of farmland. Now an enclave of southern Turkey, it is the private property of Lord Dionisiy Tedzhan-Smahin, who inherited the land from an ancestor who was a local landowner.

Laranda is so large that it now makes up 59.7% of Austenasia’s total land area.

Lord Tedzhan-Smahin, who also serves as Representative of Theodosiopolis, has been appointed Governor of Laranda, but as he no longer lives nearby the day-to-day administration of the land will be undertaken by his cousin, the Deputy Governor.

The name Laranda is derived from the former name of Karaman, a nearby Turkish city.